Egypt's Mohamed ElBaradei launches Egyptian party

Mohamed el Baradei Mohamed ElBaradei at the launch of his new party, which he hopes will take power in Egypt in four years

The Nobel peace prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei has launched a new political party in Egypt.

The Constitution Party marks a return to public life for Mr ElBaradei, who is a former head of the IAEA, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog.

But the new party's launch comes too late for it to field a candidate in next month's presidential election.

Mr ElBaradei said its aim was to unite Egyptians behind democracy, and to take power in four years time.

He told reporters that the new party would be above ideology, and was keen to avoid labelling it as "liberal".

But the BBC's Jon Leyne says it is clearly designed to challenge Islamist politicians who were the big winners in parliamentary elections earlier this year, and who could soon win the presidency.


Mohamed ElBaradei was careful not to define his new party as secular or liberal. He said it was to be a party to unite all Egyptians, without ideology.

But the clear aim is to challenge the Islamists, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, who have made the running in Egyptian politics in the year since the revolution was led by young liberals.

The new grouping is being called the Constitution Party.

That shows the prime objective is to get a new democratic system in place. Then, in the space of four years, Mr ElBaradei hopes the party will have built itself up as an electoral force to be reckoned with.

The opening launch was attended by members of some of the many smaller, mostly liberal parties who have not done so well in the last year.

They may have decided already that this is the moment for them to come together.

"Rescue" the revolution

He hopes that it will be able to attract millions of members, and that it will unite the youth groups behind last year's uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, and also to prepare them for a future political role.

"The time has come to start a comprehensive political process to achieve the goals of the revolution," he said, adding that he wanted "to rescue the great revolution that has been derailed and is almost stillborn."

Egypt is currently ruled by a military-backed government which has promised to hand over power to the winner of the forthcoming presidential elections.

In January Mr ElBaradei ruled himself out of running for the presidency this year, saying a fair vote would be impossible in such a chaotic transitional period.

Enthusiastic supporters of the Nobel laureate gathered outside the news conference to show their approval of the new party.

Our correspondent says there was an impressive turnout for the launch.

That suggests he may have found a formula that could begin to unite the many different groups who led the revolution last year, but have since lost out in the race for power.

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